My colleague and dear friend, Phil Wexler, has been a beam of enlightenment for me for many many years. He’s a great philosopher, speaker, trainer and though leader in many areas- especially Sales and Customer Service. Phil, a big fan of Illuminate, reminded me that a chapter in his book, The Quest for Quality, is in complete harmony with Illuminate. He posits that we should always seek to Create Complaining Customers. Your reaction, if it is anything like mine was, is probably “why on earth would we want to create complaining customers?” Phil explains it this way, “We invariably have service lapses. That’s a reality. Creating an environment where the Customer can openly feed back information on our service challenges is critical for growth through learning and also serves as a cartharsis for the Customer.
Creating a relationship with our Customers in which they can freely ‘complain’, offer feedback, get us back on the right track of Customer delight and, overall, help us sharpen our skills is essential. The simple observation that a disgruntled Customer will tell many many more people than they will tell a positive story is spot on. That’s what we consumers do. Your job is to make and to keep customers- so take that free consulting from the Customer with deep appreciation.
Now, what has this got to do with the concept and model of Illuminate? Everything. Creating that environment where we solicit and hear feedback is one of the keys to great business success. And a big part of that is taking action on that observation; whether it’s to simply acknowledge their feelings and offer gratitude for the information or to capture the information on paper so that you and your team can dissect it and brainstorm solutions. Better yet, if you have the resources of time, money and know-how then you can begin to immediately create a solution to the problem/challenge.
Allowing the vulnerability to actually hear feedback from your Customers out there and your ‘internal Customers’ in here is the most liberating exercise. We might not have the solution at hand but when we are serious about serving Customers we will find the way… maybe not immediately but we WILL find a way. Noone is smarter than ALL of us. Capture the issues, hear the feedback and get on to the task of resolving it- from the root cause on up.
Create Complaining Customers who will serve as the most effective feedback purveyors- and offer up the breakfast of Champions- Complaints!